Regardless if you are in recovery or just a human being living in this rat-race of a society where stress is an epidemic, you certainly have some emotional and psychological baggage.  If you think you don’t, you are probably living in a tree house somewhere, making friends with squirrels and sparrows; or under a ridiculous rock.  The rock is probably your mother, who takes all of your bullshit and turns it into pearls.  She probably displays these shitty pearls… on a wall… in her fancy den.

Most people don’t realize their own baggage until they are directly involved in a human-relationship.  It doesn’t matter who the human is; we all reflect one another’s bullshit.  Trust me.  I know. 

After six months of treatment in a therapeutic community where the program is based on facing ourselves directly in the mirror, as opposed to pointing fingers, I got a non-stop dose of my strange behaviors and arising emotions. If the chubby girl across the room irritated the shit out of me, it was because she reflected something I disliked in myself. If the asshole in the corner constantly pissed me off, then it was me who had the issue with anger. The list goes on and on. I am bossy, arrogant, entitled, judgmental, angry (really?), self-centered.bag.. you name it. Whatever emotion came up for me in the face of other people, was a reflection of what I needed to work on in myself.

I carry this information with me now as a constant reminder that I’m no where near perfect. I actually enjoy humility when it’s not delivered in the form of degrading humiliation. Seriously, it is pretty pathetic how the human ego inflates itself in such a cunning way that we actually buy into everything it tell us. Listen, there are seven billion people on this planet… you are a mere pion. So am I. Let’s face it… the human ego is an embarrassment to the human spirit. They are always at war; Ego resisting Spirit. I’m embarrassed of what I used to buy into about myself. I was in treatment for severe alcoholism, believing I was better than some of my addicted peers because of things like having a career, being a mother and having a book published. Forget the fact that I was too hung over in the mornings to keep a consistent job; my children were no longer living with me, and I only made $30 in book royalties that I probably spent on boxed wine.

Let’s move forward to recovery… So here I am trying to live it up in this world, believing that I’ve got it going on spiritually. I am centered. I am focused. I understand that I am creating my own universe, etc… but here’s the catch… I’m living under one roof with an eleven year old and another adult. We have never all lived together at once. People have moods. I have moods. I also have emotional baggage that I didn’t know about, but these things come up and I’ve either got to face them like a warrior, or do what I used to do and blame someone else for how I feel.

Luckily I’m with a person who understands the human condition and what it looks like to purge old habits and fears. I’ve been resisting facing these old behavior patterns for the last two months, but it finally got to the point that it was affecting my relationship. I begrudgingly surrendered and asked the Universe for help. Within days I had a very vivid dream, which brought immediate clarity. I was able to identify my fear, call it was it was, and take responsibility for it. I wanted to blame my mother, then my father, then my boyfriend; because that’s what the ego loves to do, but after all that nonsense passed through me, I was able to look at it and see that it belonged to me. I’m the one with the old fear and the crappy behavioral pattern. I’m the one who has to own up to my bullshit. So I did. And today I feel like I shed a really old, very uncomfortable skin that no longer suits me.

Essentially, we are all gifts to one another; provoking each other’s emotions and old behaviors, which are begging to be identified, and then relinquished. This is how the shedding of old skin is properly done. This is how growth is done in a conscious way. However, we are conditioned to believe and behave in the exact opposite manner. This is truly a disease of the soul, but the good news is, you can begin today, merely by looking at yourself instead of the person provoking your emotion. Feel everything that comes up for you and take ownership. If you want to change the world, you’ve got to start with you.

In the rich words of many philosophers, “Know Thyself.” And then thank your bitchy mother-in-law for mirroring your deep-seeded anger…

Any thoughts or comments?



  1. Hi Jenn,
    Shedding the skin is a great way to describe this process. It’s so easy to blame all your worries on everyone else, but really it is you with the problems.
    Certainly this helped me in my recovery. Once I realised that it was me greeting myself drunk, not anyone else, then I knew what to do and how to pull myself out of it!

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